Date: 8 April 2017
The Cherries may have had a good run of results recently, but we’re not up to Chelsea’s standards (yet). Nonetheless neither were we overwhelmed today; and we battled to the end.
On an unseasonably hot day we gathered again in a packed Vitality Stadium. Chelsea fans were very vocal, out-singing us throughout, even though most of their songs were about either Tottenham or Lampard, neither of whom were playing! There were even a few Chelsea fans in Bournemouth sections of the ground, but most of them were rooted out once they started celebrating their goals!
The Cherries nearly got off to a dream start when after less a minute a King shot was almost deflected into his own goal by Luiz, before the goalie cleared to Fraser who attempted another shot before winning a corner. All would then go quiet on the Bournemouth attacking front until the quarter hour, when a truly amazing run by Fraser with the ball led to another scoring chance – but a poor shot in the end. And within five minutes of this Chelsea were two goals up: the first when Moses passed to Costa whose shot may have missed if it hadn’t deflected in off Smith’s head, the second when Hazard rounded Boruc to score.
On 28 minutes a good cross from Daniels found Afobe, whose shot hit the post and was then deflected away from the target by the goalie. But then three minutes before half time King charged down the right with a ball received from Afobe and, despite the tight angle, scored a consolation goal for the Cherries. Half-time: 1-2.
There wasn’t much to write home about in the second half. The makeshift midfield of Arter and Wilshere were working hard, but most of their passes seemed to go awry. And then on 68 minutes came a wonderful goal from Chelsea wing-back Alonso, sealing the win for the visitors. It was a free kick of the sort Smith would love to copy – maybe one day he will – bending his shot round the wall and into the net.
Eddie used all three allowable substitutions in the closing minutes – Ibe, Gradel and Mousset coming on for Pugh, Fraser and Afobe. Mousset’s first piece of the action was good: his pass to King almost led to a goal. But then Chelsea sussed him and he never got another chance like that one. By the end a two-goal deficit was just too much to make up.
The team lined up as follows at the start of the game (I've given the players marks out of ten):
A Smith (7), Francis (7), S Cook (6), Daniels (7);
Fraser (7), Arter (6), Wilshere (5), Pugh (7);
Afobe (6), King (8)